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In the Name of God بسم الله

Do The Ends Justify The Means?

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  • Veteran Member

I thought about this a lot and the correct answer is you have to ask Imam (A.S.), the right answer may be different for different people. I heard in a majlis,

" our religion is like math, whatever formula you use, there's always one answer, Ali (A.S.) is the right path".

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ex: stealing from the rich to save the poor, or stealing bread to save your child from starvation

yes or no, and why? and i'd like your answers to be based on shia islam (sunnah,hadiths,quran, etc)

Under Islamic law you cannot be punished if you steal food in order to feed your starving children. Ie to prevent them or yourself from dying.

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Islam does not allow robin hood lifestyle

There's actually a Hadith about this where a man steals apples from a merchant instead of buying them and then gives them out to the poor and tells an Imam(as) how he got one bad deed for stealing but two good deeds for giving to the poor and the Imam (as) says, no u got one bad deed for stealing and then another bad deed for giving away the merchant's apples without his permission...

Anyone know what Hadith in talking about?

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ex: stealing from the rich to save the poor, or stealing bread to save your child from starvation

yes or no, and why? and i'd like your answers to be based on shia islam (sunnah,hadiths,quran, etc)

So the answer would be that you cannot be robin hood, but of u are dying of hunger and have no way getting food (ie food banks, soup kitchens) you won't be punished for stealing

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There's actually a Hadith about this where a man steals apples from a merchant instead of buying them and then gives them out to the poor and tells an Imam(as) how he got one bad deed for stealing but two good deeds for giving to the poor and the Imam (as) says, no u got one bad deed for stealing and then another bad deed for giving away the merchant's apples without his permission...

Anyone know what Hadith in talking about?

You are probably (with some unintetional errors) referring to this:

بحار الأنوار (ط - بيروت)، ج‏47، ص: 238

23- ج، الإحتجاج بِالْإِسْنَادِ إِلَى أَبِي مُحَمَّدٍ الْعَسْكَرِيِّ عَنْ آبَائِهِ عَنِ الصَّادِقِ ع أَنَّهُ قَالَ: قَوْلُهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَ يَقُولُ أَرْشِدْنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ أَرْشِدْنَا لِلُزُومِ الطَّرِيقِ الْمُؤَدِّي إِلَى مَحَبَّتِكَ وَ الْمُبَلِّغِ إِلَى جَنَّتِكَ مِنْ أَنْ نَتَّبِعَ أَهْوَاءَنَا فَنَعْطَبَ أَوْ نَأْخُذَ بِآرَائِنَا فَنَهْلِكَ فَإِنَّ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَ أُعْجِبَ بِرَأْيِهِ كَانَ كَرَجُلٍ سَمِعْتُ غُثَاءَ النَّاسِ تُعَظِّمُهُ وَ تَصِفُهُ فَأَحْبَبْتُ لِقَاءَهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْرِفُنِي لِأَنْظُرَ مِقْدَارَهُ وَ مَحَلَّهُ فَرَأَيْتُهُ فِي مَوْضِعٍ قَدْ أَحْدَقَ بِهِ خَلْقٌ مِنْ غُثَاءِ الْعَامَّةِ فَوَقَفْتُ مُنْتَبِذاً عَنْهُمْ مَغْشِيّاً بِلِثَامٍ أَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ وَ إِلَيْهِمْ فَمَا زَالَ يُرَاوِغُهُمْ حَتَّى خَالَفَ طَرِيقَهُمْ وَ فَارَقَهُمْ وَ لَمْ يَقِرَّ فَتَفَرَّقَتِ الْعَوَامُ عَنْهُ لِحَوَائِجِهِمْ وَ تَبِعْتُهُ أَقْتَفِي أَثَرَهُ فَلَمْ يَلْبَثْ أَنْ مَرَّ بِخَبَّازٍ فَتَغَفَّلَهُ فَأَخَذَ مِنْ دُكَّانِهِ رَغِيفَيْنِ مُسَارَقَةً فَتَعَجَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ثُمَّ قُلْتُ فِي نَفْسِي لَعَلَّهُ مُعَامَلَةٌ ثُمَّ مَرَّ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ بِصَاحِبِ رُمَّانٍ فَمَا زَالَ بِهِ حَتَّى تَغَفَّلَهُ فَأَخَذَ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ رُمَّانَتَيْنِ مُسَارَقَةً فَتَعَجَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ثُمَّ قُلْتُ فِي نَفْسِي لَعَلَّهُ مُعَامَلَةٌ ثُمَّ أَقُولُ وَ مَا حَاجَتُهُ إِذاً إِلَى الْمُسَارَقَةِ ثُمَّ لَمْ أَزَلْ أَتْبَعُهُ حَتَّى مَرَّ بِمَرِيضٍ فَوَضَعَ‏ الرَّغِيفَيْنِ‏ وَ الرُّمَّانَتَيْنِ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَ مَضَى وَ تَبِعْتُهُ حَتَّى اسْتَقَرَّ فِي بُقْعَةٍ مِنْ صَحْرَاءَ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ لَقَدْ سَمِعْتُ بِكَ وَ أَحْبَبْتُ لِقَاءَكَ فَلَقِيتُكَ لَكِنِّي رَأَيْتُ مِنْكَ مَا شَغَلَ قَلْبِي وَ إِنِّي سَائِلُكَ عَنْهُ لِيَزُولَ بِهِ شُغُلُ قَلْبِي قَالَ مَا هُوَ قُلْتُ رَأَيْتُكَ مَرَرْتَ بِخَبَّازٍ وَ سَرَقْتَ مِنْهُ رَغِيفَيْنِ ثُمَّ بِصَاحِبِ الرُّمَّانِ فَسَرَقْتَ مِنْهُ رُمَّانَتَيْنِ فَقَالَ لِي قَبْلَ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ حَدِّثْنِي مَنْ أَنْتَ قُلْتُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ وُلْدِ آدَمَ مِنْ أُمَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ ص قَالَ حَدِّثْنِي مِمَّنْ أَنْتَ قُلْتُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ص قَالَ أَيْنَ بَلَدُكَ قُلْتُ الْمَدِينَةُ قَالَ لَعَلَّكَ جَعْفَرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ قُلْتُ بَلَى قَالَ لِي فَمَا يَنْفَعُكَ شَرَفُ أَصْلِكَ مَعَ جَهْلِكَ بِمَا شُرِّفْتَ بِهِ وَ تَرْكِكَ عِلْمَ جَدِّكَ وَ أَبِيكَ لِأَنْ لَا تُنْكِرَ مَا يَجِبُ أَنْ يُحْمَدَ وَ يُمْدَحَ فَاعِلُهُ قُلْتُ وَ مَا هُوَ قَالَ الْقُرْآنُ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ قُلْتُ وَ مَا الَّذِي جَهِلْتُ قَالَ قَوْلُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَ‏ مَنْ جاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثالِها وَ مَنْ جاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلا يُجْزى‏ إِلَّا مِثْلَها وَ إِنِّي لَمَّا سَرَقْتُ الرَّغِيفَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ وَ لَمَّا سَرَقْتُ الرُّمَّانَتَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ فَهَذِهِ أَرْبَعُ سَيِّئَاتٍ فَلَمَّا تَصَدَّقْتُ بِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهَا كَانَتْ أَرْبَعِينَ حَسَنَةً فَانْتَقَصَ مِنْ أَرْبَعِينَ حَسَنَةً أَرْبَعُ سَيِّئَاتٍ بَقِيَ لِي سِتٌّ وَ ثَلَاثُونَ قُلْتُ ثَكِلَتْكَ أُمُّكَ أَنْتَ الْجَاهِلُ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ أَ مَا سَمِعْتَ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ يَقُولُ‏ إِنَّما يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ‏ إِنَّكَ لَمَّا سَرَقْتَ الرَّغِيفَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ وَ لَمَّا سَرَقْتَ الرُّمَّانَتَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ وَ لَمَّا دَفَعْتَهُمَا إِلَى غَيْرِ صَاحِبِهِمَا بِغَيْرِ أَمْرِ صَاحِبِهِمَا كُنْتَ إِنَّمَا أَضَفْتَ أَرْبَعَ سَيِّئَاتٍ إِلَى أَرْبَعِ سَيِّئَاتٍ وَ لَمْ تُضِفْ أَرْبَعِينَ حَسَنَةً إِلَى أَرْبَعِ سَيِّئَاتٍ فَجَعَلَ يُلَاحِينِي فَانْصَرَفْتُ وَ تَرَكْتُهُ‏.

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  • Advanced Member

the ends almost NEVER justify the means. if that was the case, Karbala would not have existed, Yazid's army would have been obliterated, yet instead Imam Hussain's family died to prove a point, he could have just took over the caliphate and done the same.. the ends do not justify the means..

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okay, mkazmi, so if thats what you believe are you saying that in the following moral dilemma, you would not flip the switch at all and let the 5 people die over the one person? because the killing (means) would be wrong?

"You are at a train track and see five people tied to the track ahead. A switch is in front of you which will divert the train, but as you look down you see a man is strapped to that track and will be killed. Is it permissible to flip the switch and save the five people at the expense of one?"

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Aslamalaykum,

This the excuse that the tyrants use mostly "The end justifies the means"

Also there is a saying from the 6th Imam which I heard/read long time ago which goes along the lines of "that you cannot build a good deed upon a vice"

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You are probably (with some unintetional errors) referring to this:

No habla al arabiya :P translation? Lol

بحار الأنوار (ط - بيروت)، ج‏47، ص: 238

23- ج، الإحتجاج بِالْإِسْنَادِ إِلَى أَبِي مُحَمَّدٍ الْعَسْكَرِيِّ عَنْ آبَائِهِ عَنِ الصَّادِقِ ع أَنَّهُ قَالَ: قَوْلُهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَ يَقُولُ أَرْشِدْنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ أَرْشِدْنَا لِلُزُومِ الطَّرِيقِ الْمُؤَدِّي إِلَى مَحَبَّتِكَ وَ الْمُبَلِّغِ إِلَى جَنَّتِكَ مِنْ أَنْ نَتَّبِعَ أَهْوَاءَنَا فَنَعْطَبَ أَوْ نَأْخُذَ بِآرَائِنَا فَنَهْلِكَ فَإِنَّ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَ أُعْجِبَ بِرَأْيِهِ كَانَ كَرَجُلٍ سَمِعْتُ غُثَاءَ النَّاسِ تُعَظِّمُهُ وَ تَصِفُهُ فَأَحْبَبْتُ لِقَاءَهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْرِفُنِي لِأَنْظُرَ مِقْدَارَهُ وَ مَحَلَّهُ فَرَأَيْتُهُ فِي مَوْضِعٍ قَدْ أَحْدَقَ بِهِ خَلْقٌ مِنْ غُثَاءِ الْعَامَّةِ فَوَقَفْتُ مُنْتَبِذاً عَنْهُمْ مَغْشِيّاً بِلِثَامٍ أَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ وَ إِلَيْهِمْ فَمَا زَالَ يُرَاوِغُهُمْ حَتَّى خَالَفَ طَرِيقَهُمْ وَ فَارَقَهُمْ وَ لَمْ يَقِرَّ فَتَفَرَّقَتِ الْعَوَامُ عَنْهُ لِحَوَائِجِهِمْ وَ تَبِعْتُهُ أَقْتَفِي أَثَرَهُ فَلَمْ يَلْبَثْ أَنْ مَرَّ بِخَبَّازٍ فَتَغَفَّلَهُ فَأَخَذَ مِنْ دُكَّانِهِ رَغِيفَيْنِ مُسَارَقَةً فَتَعَجَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ثُمَّ قُلْتُ فِي نَفْسِي لَعَلَّهُ مُعَامَلَةٌ ثُمَّ مَرَّ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ بِصَاحِبِ رُمَّانٍ فَمَا زَالَ بِهِ حَتَّى تَغَفَّلَهُ فَأَخَذَ مِنْ عِنْدِهِ رُمَّانَتَيْنِ مُسَارَقَةً فَتَعَجَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ثُمَّ قُلْتُ فِي نَفْسِي لَعَلَّهُ مُعَامَلَةٌ ثُمَّ أَقُولُ وَ مَا حَاجَتُهُ إِذاً إِلَى الْمُسَارَقَةِ ثُمَّ لَمْ أَزَلْ أَتْبَعُهُ حَتَّى مَرَّ بِمَرِيضٍ فَوَضَعَ‏ الرَّغِيفَيْنِ‏ وَ الرُّمَّانَتَيْنِ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَ مَضَى وَ تَبِعْتُهُ حَتَّى اسْتَقَرَّ فِي بُقْعَةٍ مِنْ صَحْرَاءَ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ لَقَدْ سَمِعْتُ بِكَ وَ أَحْبَبْتُ لِقَاءَكَ فَلَقِيتُكَ لَكِنِّي رَأَيْتُ مِنْكَ مَا شَغَلَ قَلْبِي وَ إِنِّي سَائِلُكَ عَنْهُ لِيَزُولَ بِهِ شُغُلُ قَلْبِي قَالَ مَا هُوَ قُلْتُ رَأَيْتُكَ مَرَرْتَ بِخَبَّازٍ وَ سَرَقْتَ مِنْهُ رَغِيفَيْنِ ثُمَّ بِصَاحِبِ الرُّمَّانِ فَسَرَقْتَ مِنْهُ رُمَّانَتَيْنِ فَقَالَ لِي قَبْلَ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ حَدِّثْنِي مَنْ أَنْتَ قُلْتُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ وُلْدِ آدَمَ مِنْ أُمَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ ص قَالَ حَدِّثْنِي مِمَّنْ أَنْتَ قُلْتُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ بَيْتِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ص قَالَ أَيْنَ بَلَدُكَ قُلْتُ الْمَدِينَةُ قَالَ لَعَلَّكَ جَعْفَرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ قُلْتُ بَلَى قَالَ لِي فَمَا يَنْفَعُكَ شَرَفُ أَصْلِكَ مَعَ جَهْلِكَ بِمَا شُرِّفْتَ بِهِ وَ تَرْكِكَ عِلْمَ جَدِّكَ وَ أَبِيكَ لِأَنْ لَا تُنْكِرَ مَا يَجِبُ أَنْ يُحْمَدَ وَ يُمْدَحَ فَاعِلُهُ قُلْتُ وَ مَا هُوَ قَالَ الْقُرْآنُ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ قُلْتُ وَ مَا الَّذِي جَهِلْتُ قَالَ قَوْلُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَ‏ مَنْ جاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثالِها وَ مَنْ جاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلا يُجْزى‏ إِلَّا مِثْلَها وَ إِنِّي لَمَّا سَرَقْتُ الرَّغِيفَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ وَ لَمَّا سَرَقْتُ الرُّمَّانَتَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ فَهَذِهِ أَرْبَعُ سَيِّئَاتٍ فَلَمَّا تَصَدَّقْتُ بِكُلِّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهَا كَانَتْ أَرْبَعِينَ حَسَنَةً فَانْتَقَصَ مِنْ أَرْبَعِينَ حَسَنَةً أَرْبَعُ سَيِّئَاتٍ بَقِيَ لِي سِتٌّ وَ ثَلَاثُونَ قُلْتُ ثَكِلَتْكَ أُمُّكَ أَنْتَ الْجَاهِلُ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ أَ مَا سَمِعْتَ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ يَقُولُ‏ إِنَّما يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ‏ إِنَّكَ لَمَّا سَرَقْتَ الرَّغِيفَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ وَ لَمَّا سَرَقْتَ الرُّمَّانَتَيْنِ كَانَتْ سَيِّئَتَيْنِ وَ لَمَّا دَفَعْتَهُمَا إِلَى غَيْرِ صَاحِبِهِمَا بِغَيْرِ أَمْرِ صَاحِبِهِمَا كُنْتَ إِنَّمَا أَضَفْتَ أَرْبَعَ سَيِّئَاتٍ إِلَى أَرْبَعِ سَيِّئَاتٍ وَ لَمْ تُضِفْ أَرْبَعِينَ حَسَنَةً إِلَى أَرْبَعِ سَيِّئَاتٍ فَجَعَلَ يُلَاحِينِي فَانْصَرَفْتُ وَ تَرَكْتُهُ‏.

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okay, mkazmi, so if thats what you believe are you saying that in the following moral dilemma, you would not flip the switch at all and let the 5 people die over the one person? because the killing (means) would be wrong?

"You are at a train track and see five people tied to the track ahead. A switch is in front of you which will divert the train, but as you look down you see a man is strapped to that track and will be killed. Is it permissible to flip the switch and save the five people at the expense of one?"

that example does not make sense in this context. pulling the switch will not destroy the train and its passengers. when somebody speaks about "the means justify the ends" they usually mean one party/organization or just somebody's life will be ruined at the expense of others. if you pull the switch and destroy the train and its passengers (assuming it has passengers, if its automated w/o passengers, then by all means your not hurting anybody) and save the people on the track, then no, its not permissible.

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1. If the end is related in any way for you to go to heaven, then yes

the end justifies the means

the means is following the Creator's way

2. If the end is related to this world, the answer is no

if you are faced in a difficult situation (like starvation) and need something (like food)

make requests through prayer

the Creator will always come to the rescue, sometimes in the last moments (like what happened to Moses and the Israilites ...trapping their enemies and free the slaves from their oppresors once and for all)

sometimes a soceity has large inequlity of wealth distribution, a few are very rich and a lot are poor

this is from the mercy of the Creator

He wants the rich to live comfortably where they are, indulging in worldy pleasure. Taking posession of material goods to make it very difficult to leave their comfortable life.

While he wants the poor to have no oppritunities so they recognize that is it time to make hidjra. Making hidjra is easiest when you are poor, because you have nothing of real value.

Once all the true believers make hidjra, then it'll be time for the punishment to take place, on those who lived a life of luxury and never gave to charity.

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